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Thread: is a tenor for me?

  1. #1

    Default is a tenor for me?

    Hi All,
    I started playing mandolin almost exactly a year ago, and have had a great time of it. I practice at least 1/2 hour a day, more on the weekends. Last august I wanted to add something more to the mix so I bought a TC bouzouki. As much as I love the mandolin, it is not so much with the bouzouki. I like the sound, but the fingering is much harder and I have to capo to the 3rd fret to manage. Tried tuning GDAE and then GDAD and can play a few chords but it is slow and cumbersome to me. Still want something in the same register so after searching the web, it seems like a tenor might fit me and my hands better. Would the tenor be easier than the bouzouki?

  2. #2

    Default Re: is a tenor for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by kedge View Post
    Would the tenor be easier than the bouzouki?
    Well, it's 50% easier to tune...You might want to try a shorter OM scale instrument, either 8 or 4 string. GDAD or GDAE. That won't be such a big leap.


  3. #3

    Default Re: is a tenor for me?

    The bouzouki scale length is 26 1/4 inches, so a tenor guitar at 23 inches or 21 inches would definitely be easier to play. I like my 23 inch scale tenor guitars, but if you're switching between mandolin and tenor guitar a 21 inch scale tenor guitar might be better.
    Blueridge BR-60T Tenor Guitar
    Eastwood Warren Ellis 2P Tenor Guitar

  4. #4
    Bark first, Bite later Steve Zawacki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Sumter County, FL

    Default Re: is a tenor for me?

    Went through a similar evolution, going from 6-string guitar to mandolin, tenor guitar, tenor banjo and ukuleke. The mandolin is still fun, but as an old guitar guy, really missed the deeper guitar sound.

    As far as the tenor guitar goes, wish I found it 30 years ago. A lot of instruments have come-and-gone, but the tenor guitar (Blueridge 40T) is the true keeper. Have flip-flopped from GDAE and CGDA, and have settled on CGDA.

    Current Stable: Two Tenor Guitars (Martin 515, Blueridge BR-40T), a Tenor Banjo (Deering GoodTime 17-Fret), a Mandolin (Burgess #7). two Banjo-Ukes and five Ukuleles..

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  5. #5
    Registered User spufman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Central CT

    Default Re: is a tenor for me?

    I recently got a tenor after several years with the mandolin. I very much am liking it. Mine's a 23" scale Ibanez AVNT1. Of course it's not as 'right there at my fingertips' as mandolin, but the fifths tuning remains great. Lots more hand shifting to get the notes, but I come from a bass background so that's cool. The extra string length, single course and lower tension open up a lot of options to add nuance through string action.

    Go for it! It's no mandolin, but still super fun.

  6. #6
    Registered User WillFly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Sussex, UK

    Default Re: is a tenor for me?

    Get your little finger moving - get a tenor! Mine has a scale length of 22.5" and one of the main differences between that and my mandolin is the necessary use of the little finger on the tenor. I also prefer the vibrato and string bending that you can get on a tenor - and I don't miss the mandolin tremolo either. Don't get me wrong - I love my mandolin and my collection of 6-string guitars - but the tenor guitar has a special place in my heart.

  7. #7

    Default Re: is a tenor for me?

    Thanks for the input. I think the shorter scale and just the 4 strings might be what I'm looking for. Love the mandolin and have no intention of stopping that, but honestly, the fingering on the bouzouki is so difficult that I seem to play it out of guilt cause it is there. I spoke to the folks at GC about the blueridge 40, and they will take the bouzouki in trade. Seems that the used bouzouki market is quite soft, might be easier to take the $$ hit on the trade and move on.

  8. #8
    Registered User Tim N's Avatar
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    Apr 2016

    Default Re: is a tenor for me?

    If you're thinking of the Blueridge, then it's worth also trying out a shorter scale lengh tenor before you commit, as some folk here comment on how the 23" rather a stretch is compared with a 21" when playing tunes. It's noticable when playing chords too, so if you have small hands it could be important.
    Alternatively, if you like the bouzouki sound, but find it too long, you could try an octave mandola - basically a shorter length bouzouki when you come down to it!
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2016

    Default Re: is a tenor for me?


    I recently bought a barytone ukulÚlÚ and tuned it GDAE.
    Love the sound of nylon strings.
    20" scale, shorter than an Irish banjo.
    Very sweet to play.
    Not very loud but very lovely sound.
    My english is not perfect.
    Nor my french anyway...

  10. #10
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.

    Default Re: is a tenor for me?

    Maybe the stretch to 5ths is a bit much, you could use 'Chicago' tuning ... DGBE..

    One of the player-singers at our local jam does her tenor banjo in that tuning..

    It's guitar, minus the low A&E strings ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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